Remembering Dr. Y-Dang Troeung

Photo by Chris Patterson. Hanoi, 2017.

It is with profound sadness that we mourn the passing of our dear colleague and friend, Dr. Y-Dang Troeung. Dr. Troeung was an Associate Professor in the Department of English Language & Literatures. She was a brilliant scholar whose research continues to transform conversations in critical refugee studies, transnational Asian literatures, transpacific Cold War studies, and critical disability studies. 

At the core of Dr. Troeung’s work was a fierce commitment to the lived experiences of refugee communities, and, in her words, to “excavating and animating the subjugated knowledges of Cambodian people and Cambodian refugees.” Her first academic monograph, Refugee Lifeworlds (Temple University Press), was published in August 2022. It beautifully weaves familial and personal narratives with rigorous critique in order to examine the afterlife of the Cold War in Cambodia.

Dr. Troeung’s body of work was imaginative and expansive, and will continue to inspire. She recently co-directed and co-produced Easter Epic, a short film about the true events of a day in the life of a Cambodian refugee family soon after their resettlement in small-town Ontario. Easter Epic is scheduled to be completed in Fall 2023. Her family memoir, Landbridge, is forthcoming in Fall 2023. 

As a dedicated mentor, creative pedagogue, and beloved teacher, she brought out the best in her students by carving out space for them to apply critical analysis to a range of literatures and cultural texts. She is remembered for her engaging presence in and outside of the classroom. This loss is deeply felt by her students, with whom Dr. Troeung forged life-giving relationships.

Her impact resonates throughout communities beyond the Department, including the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Studies Program where she was an affiliate faculty member; Canadian Literature, where she served as Associate Editor; and the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, where she was a 2020 Wall Scholar. 

Dr. Troeung’s passing is a loss to everyone whose lives were transformed by her immense kindness, energy, humour, and generosity. In her time as a member of this Department, she advocated for and advanced the hiring, wellbeing, and mentorship of BIPOC faculty and students. She was a treasured colleague, educator, and member of the EL&L community. We grieve with her family and loved ones. 

The loss of a member of our community is always difficult to bear alone. If you have capacity, please take care of each other, seek the support you need, and reach out to those who may be most vulnerable.

Y-Dang Troeung’s Publications

Refereed Publications

Troeung, Y-Dang. Refugee Lifeworlds: The Afterlife of the Cold War in CambodiaTemple University Press, Philadelphia, 2022.

Troeung, Y-Dang. “Refugee Worldmaking: Canada and the Afterlives of the Vietnam War,” Guest Editor: Y-Dang Troeung, Special Issue of Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review, Issue 246, Winter 2022. 

Troeung, Y-Dang. “Postcolonial Intimacies,” Guest Editors: Y-Dang Troeung, Phanuel Antwi, Sarah Brophy, and Helene Strauss, Special Issue of Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, Volume 15, Issue 1, 2013. 

Troeung, Y-Dang. Special Editorial Introduction, “On Refugee Worldmaking,” in “Refugee Worldmaking: Canada and the Afterlives of the Vietnam War,” Special Issue of Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review, Issue 246, Winter 2022: 6-14.

Troeung, Y-Dang, with Christopher B. Patterson. “Organic and Inorganic Chinas: Desire and Fatigue in Global Hong Kong.” Amerasia Journal 27 (January 2020): 1-19. 

Troeung, Y-Dang, with Madeleine Thien. “‘To the Intellectuals of the West’: Rithy Panh’s The Elimination and Genealogies of the Cambodian Genocide.Topia-Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies 35 (Spring 2016): 155-171. 

Troeung, Y-Dang, with Christopher B. Patterson. “The Psyche of Neoliberal Multiculturalism: Queering Memory and Reproduction in Larissa Lai’s Salt Fish Girl and Chang-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea.Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies 42.1 (March 2016): 73-98. 

Troeung, Y-Dang. “Buried History and Transpacific Pedagogy: Teaching the Vietnamese Boat People’s Hong Kong Passage.” ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature 46.1-2 (2015): 239-255.

Troeung, Y-Dang. “Iterations of War and its Literary Counterforces: Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan and Kosal Khiev’s Why I Write.” MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States 40.2 (2015): 96-116.

Troeung, Y-Dang. “Human Rights and the Literary Self-Portrait: Vann Nath’s A Cambodian Prison Portrait: One Year in the Khmer Rouge’s S-21. Rethinking History: Journal of Theory and Practice 19.2 (2015): 235-251. *Reprinted as book chapter in Rethinking Historical Genres in the Twenty-First Century. Jaume Aurell, editor (Routledge, 2017): 91-107. 

Troeung, Y-Dang and Phanuel Antwi, Sarah Brophy, and Helene Strauss. Special Issue Editorial Introduction: “Postcolonial Intimacies: Gatherings, Disruptions, Departures.Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 15.1 (2013): 1-9. 

Troeung, Y-Dang. “Witnessing Cambodia’s Disappeared.University of Toronto Quarterly 82.2 (2013): 150-167.

Troeung, Y-Dang. “‘A gift or a theft depends on who is holding the pen': Postcolonial Collaborative Autobiography and Monique Truong’s The Book of Salt," Modern Fiction Studies 56. 1 (2010): 91-108.

Troeung, Y-Dang. “Forgetting Loss in Madeleine Thien's Certainty," Canadian Literature 206 (2010): 91-108.

Troeung, Y-Dang, Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Christopher B. Patterson, and Weihsin Gui. “Asian Literatures in English.The Handbook of Asian Englishes, Edited by Kingsley Bolton, Werner Botha, Andy Kirkpatrick (London: Wiley Blackwell (September 2020): 787-812.  

Troeung, Y-Dang. “Between Forced Confession and Ethnic Autobiography.Research Methods for Auto-Biography Studies. Kate Douglas and Ashely Barnwell, editors (Routledge, 2019): 220-227.

Troeung, Y-Dang and Phanuel Antwi. “‘In this very uncertain space’: A Conversation with Omar El Akkad.Canadian Literature 240 (Spring 2020): 42-56. 

Troeung, Y-Dang and Viet Le. “Refugee Crossings on the 40th Anniversary of the Vietnam War: An Interview with Andrew Lam.MELUS: Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States 41.3 (Fall 2016): 1-10. 

Troeung, Y-Dang and Phanuel Antwi, Sarah Brophy, and Helene Strauss. “Not Without Ambivalence: An Interview with Sara Ahmed on Postcolonial Intimacies.Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 15.1 (2013): 110-126.

Non-Refereed Publications

Troeung, Y-Dang. “A Forum on Remembering Cambodian Border Camps,” Forum Essay Introduction on the Exhibition Remembering Cambodian Border Camps, 40 Years Later,” Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review, Issue 246, Spring 2020, 140-142.

Troeung, Y-Dang. “Worlds Lost and Found: On the Poetics of Hoa Nguyen,” Forum Essay Introduction on the work of Hoa Nguyen,” Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review, Issue 246, Spring 2020, .

Troeung, Y-Dang. “On Names and Resonances,” Forum Essay on the work of Souvankham Thommavongsa, Canadian Literature: A Quarterly of Criticism and Review, Issue 242, Spring 2020, 140-142.

Troeung, Y-Dang, with Helen Hok-Sze Leung, Robert Diaz, and Lara Campbell. “Routed through Canada: A Roundtable Discussion on Inter-Asia and Transnational Research.Inter-Asia Cultural Studies 20.2 (2019): 327-340.

Troeung, Y-Dang, with Thy Phu and Vinh Nguyen. “Refugee Compassion and the Politics of Embodied Storytelling: A Critical Conversation.” a/b: Autobiography Studies 33.2 (2018): 441-445. 

Troeung, Y-Dang. “Alice Munro Country and Refugee Havens.” Canadian Literature 227 (Winter 2015): 193-194.

Troeung, Y-Dang, “The Crisis of Permanent War,” in Chromatic: Ten Meditations on Crisis in Art and Letters, (Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, University of British Columbia, 2021, November 2021), with Purang Abolmaesumi, Jennifer Black, Lara Boyd, Carrie Jenkins, Hoi Kong, M.V. Ramana, Steve Reynolds, Michelle Stack, and Sheila Teves. 

Troeung, Y-Dang. Podcast as Interviewer, "S02E03: On the Politics of Waste, Race, and Disposability with Mohammed Rafi Arefin,"  Ways of Knowing Podcast, PWIAS, with Y-Dang Troeung and M.V. Ramana, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, UBC, Published online, Sept 20, 2021.

Troeung, Y-Dang. Podcast as Interviewee, "Ep 16: Y-Dang Troeung on Redefining the Refugee Narrative," Ways of Knowing Podcast, with Kalina Kristoff, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, UBC, Published online June 28, 2021. 

Troeung, Y-Dang. Creative Non-Fiction Essay, “Boneyards of the Cold War.” Brick: A Literary Journal 105 (Spring 2020).

Troeung, Y-Dang, with Vicky Do. Short Documentary film, “Surfaces: a film documentary.” May 23, 2017. Available online:

Troeung, Y-Dang. Radio Documentary, “The Lucky One Returns.” CBC Radio-Canada, Aired May 19 & August 14, 2009.

Troeung, Y-Dang. International Art/Photography Exhibition, "Remembering Cambodian Border Camps, 40 Years Later: An Exhibition at Bophana Audiovisual Center," July 1-31, 2021. (Co-organized by Y-Dang Troeung with Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center, Phnom Penh, Cambodia).

Troeung, Y-Dang, Creative Non-Fiction Essay, “from Landbridge.” Brick: A Literary Journal 110 (Fall 2023).

Troeung, Y-Dang, with Alejandro Yoshizawa, Short Film, Easter Epic (film funded by the Canada Council for the Arts Concept to Creation Grant, scheduled for completion in the fall 2023).

Troeung, Y-Dang, Memoir, Landbridge, forthcoming, fall 2023.